Baby Birdland's 2017 Mid-Season Top 15 Baltimore Orioles' Prospects: #12 OF D.J. Stewart

Just as we did after the conclusion of the 2016 season, the writers here at Baby Birdland, as well as our primary photo supplier Patrick Cavey, all submitted a Top 15 list and we averaged those lists together to get our all encompassing Baltimore Orioles Top 15 Prospects list. Continuing on with our in-depth look at each of the Top 15 Orioles’ prospects, we have reached #12, outfielder D.J. Stewart.

Photo: Patrick Cavey

Stewart, 23, is the first position player to crack the list and for good reason. Some had kind of given up on Stewart after a .218 batting average with just 16 extra base-hits over 62 games in his debut season in 2015 with the Aberdeen Ironbirds after being selected in the first round of the draft that year.

I tended to give him a break on that debut season because the Orioles were adjusting Stewart's batting stance to be more upright. It's tough just making the transition from aluminum to wood, but throw in a batting stance change, and that's quite a bit to overcome in your debut season.

I started to get a bit worried though when he began the 2016 season with the Low-A Delmarva Shorebirds and continued to struggle at the plate, at least batting average wise. He did begin to exhibit his terrific batting eye by posting an OBP 136 points higher than his batting average. Despite only hitting .230 (.366 OBP) over 62 games with the Shorebirds, the Orioles promoted Stewart to High-A Frederick.

It was at Frederick where we began to see him getting comfortable with the batting stance change and gaining some confidence. He closed out 2016 hitting .279 with 20 extra base-hits and a .389 OBP in 59 games with the Keys.

Fast forward to 2017 where Stewart has played all season with the AA Bowie Baysox. Of all the times I have seen Stewart, this year is the best I have seen him use his lower half in his swing, and the power numbers show it.

As of July 21st, Stewart is hitting .265 with 11 home runs, 15 doubles, two triples, 48 RBI and has scored 54 runs to go along with an impressive .357 OBP. It's key to point out that Stewart has already set a career high for home runs.

Stewart continues to look better at the plate and with his improvement in using his lower half during the swing, he is also gaining some power as well. If he continues to develop that power to go along with his terrific batting eye, he could become a guy O's fans will fall in love with.

Of the five lists submitted by Baby Birdland writers, Stewart appeared on four of them and was ranked as high as 9th.

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